Easy to Chew – Olivia Kieffer

Olivia Kieffer

Uncle Tim’s gristle and backwash beer bottles are next to a plate of oranges.
Glasses of leftover Kool-Aid on the coffee table,
and cloth napkins stained with regurgitated s’mores.
The air is a hot mayonnaise shower.
I sit on a vinyl armchair;
I am cellophane-wrapped beef.

I am in trouble.
I choke on the silly prank gone bad.

Inside the van parked in the alley behind Uncle Tim’s house,
we stuffed maxi-pads with uncooked hot dogs.
We hung them on the line with clothespins,
and sprayed mustard and ketchup on the lawn.

One fell.
His little Westie ate it and suffocated.
I am bile brown cotton removed from the dog’s gut.

I smell kerosene and moustache oil.
“You got two choices. You pull my finger, or eat this orange …”
Ill eat the orange.
“… with the rind. All of it.”

It’s only bitter, and easy to chew.
I eat the whole rind first.
I am thorough.
The orange is dry, with cracked seeds,
with threads to pick out of my teeth.

“Here, wash it down.”
I drink a warm glass of Kool-Aid that tastes like
expired thigh sweat, menstrual clots, and flushed tripe.
I am man’s gift to meat.

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